OBITUARY

John L. Hess

August 24, 1943November 4, 2020
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John L. Hess, CAPT, JAGC, USNR John L. Hess, attorney, died peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on November 4, 2020 of complications from cancer. He was born on August 24, 1943 to Ethel Marie (nee Swenson) and Leland Foresman Hess at the Jasper County Hospital in Rensselaer, Indiana. He grew up in Brook, Indiana where his family operated E.E. Hess Company which produced, among other products, Hess Witch Hazel Cream. In high school he was a member of the basketball, baseball, and cross-country teams, played trombone in the band, and was a member of the chorus. As Brook only had 800 residents, he took great delight in bragging that he was an “All City” athlete. He was the class President of the Class of 1961 at Brook High School and soon matriculated to Indiana University in Bloomington. While at IU he joined Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity where he served as Historian and where he made many close lifelong friends. He was active in Phi Gamma Delta affairs for many years. In college, John participated in intramurals of all kinds and enjoyed them immensely. John graduated from IU in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in history. Upon graduation he served an internship with the United States Secretary of State in Washington, D.C. However, any diplomatic career had to be cut short as John had a military obligation to first fulfill. He attended Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington and upon graduation in 1968 received a direct commission in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corp, completing Naval Justice School in Rhode Island. While in law school, John served as the House Counselor and Advisor for Phi Gamma Delta and also worked part-time for the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as an investigator. He was admitted to the Indiana Bar in 1968. He married Donna J. Greenfield of Evansville, Indiana on March 8, 1969 and they have had a wonderful partnership for the past 51 years (after meeting at the IU vs. Kentucky Football game in 1967). After their wedding, John and Donna moved to Great Lakes, Illinois where John continued his military service as a JAG Officer. After four (4) years of active duty, John continued his Naval career and served an additional seventeen (17) years in a reserve capacity, retiring at the rank of Captain in 1989. John and Donna moved to Indianapolis in 1972 where John was engaged in the practice of law until his death. Since 2003, he practiced in partnership with his daughter, Jennifer, which he greatly enjoyed. John was the senior partner of Hess Hess & Donnelson, LLP. John was affiliated with various legal professional organizations including the Indianapolis Bar Association, the Indiana State Bar Association, the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society, and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. Upon moving to Indianapolis, John joined the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, and Murat Shrine. He continued membership in these organizations and numerous affiliated Masonic Organizations such as the Royal Order of Jesters and the Murat Yacht Club. John was a charter member of the Murat Yacht Club where good spirited members still meet for lunch each Friday. He was also a member of the Service Club of Indianapolis and enjoyed attending programs and lectures offered by the Club as often as possible. He was a lifetime member of the Robert E. Kennington Post #34 American Legion and served for many years as the Judge Advocate for the Post. He was a member of the White River Yacht Club. He was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel in 1996. Additionally, John was affiliated with various Indiana University Alumni organizations over the years including being a lifetime member of the Indiana University Alumni Association. John enjoyed boating, fishing, IU sporting events, football tailgates, vacationing with his family and friends (especially in Orange Beach, Alabama), and attended approximately fifty (50) Indianapolis 500 Races. As a loyal IU graduate, John instilled his love of the Hoosiers in his daughter and granddaughter from birth. John was fortunate to make many wonderful friends throughout his life and he enjoyed spending time with his beloved family and friends, especially his granddaughter, Harper. He would want it known to his friends and extended family that he thought the world of them and deeply valued them for their friendship and years of fun, memories, and loyalty. He was a wonderful, kind, and generous husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather who loved his family and friends beyond measure and knew no strangers. Words are insufficient to express how much he is loved by his family and how much he is missed. John is survived by his wife and the love of his life, Donna J. Greenfield Hess, a daughter, Jennifer M. Hess Kimmick, a granddaughter, Harper Hess Kimmick, a son-in-law, Matthew R. Kimmick, and a niece, Ann McClelland Leonard. He is also survived by his siblings-in-law; Michael Greenfield (Sallie), Emma Leraris (Daniel), Dennis Greenfield (Krista), Mary Millsaps (Dr. Ralph), and Michele Greenfield, all of Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana as well as many loving nieces and nephews and their children. He was preceded in death by his sisters Phyllis M. McClelland (Howard), Louise Wooten, a brother, Don E. Hess, his parents, Ethel M. Hess and Leland Foresman Hess, and two nephews, Scott Hess and Charles Leonard. In lieu of flowers, his family requests memorial contributions be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A calling is scheduled for Saturday, November 21, 2020 at Leppert Mortuary located at 740 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46240 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Due to COVID-19 constraints, a private family memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. However, the family invites all to attend virtually as the service will be livestreamed on the Leppert Mortuaries- Nora Facebook website at https://www.facebook.com/LeppertMortuariesNora. A burial will immediately follow the service at 2:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery located at 9001 Haverstick Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46240 and all are welcome to attend. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The family requests that online condolences be shared at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/indianapolis-in/john-hess-9891705. Any updates regarding the services will also be posted to this location.

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John L. Hess

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Lisa and Jim Hayes HAYES

November 22, 2020

My husband served in the Navy Reserve with John several years. they got to be really close friends. And we needed him to help adopt our son he was the perfect lawyer for the perfect job and we got that done too. 28 years ago When I got in my troubles I need the lawyer his daughter Jennifer was there for me too which was fantastic. He also was there for my mom and dad when they adopted my nephew out to my mom and dad cuz my sister needed that . he was an been a great lawyer, a great friend, and just an all-around great guy he will be dearly missed. I sure would have liked to go on over to see him before his passing. I was hoping that he'd know that we were so grateful for everything that he had done for us over these many many years God bless him may he rest in peace in the Lord be with his wife and daughter and granddaughter if you kids need anything give us a call thank you for everything that you've done for us in God's name amen.

Shirley Dennis

November 21, 2020

My sincere condolences to the Hess family, and the numerous people he touched.
He was my attorney to get Social Security Disability in 1999. I had to go in front of the judge. John told me, don’t cry. I lasted 10 seconds. Afterwards I told John, I’m sorry the tears just came out and I couldn’t control them. He said, it’s okay and gave me a much needed hug.
John helped me with other small events that I needed an attorney for. He was always available for me to talk to. I so appreciate that.
Healing thoughts, and prayers to you all.
Shirley Dennis

Daniel Center

November 21, 2020

A poem of tribute

In life you will discover the satisfaction of putting things in their proper place. Once you learn this secret you will understand the comfort that one garners from putting items in their place. Some of the time that may be an item of great value or of little value or a person or perhaps an idea. When you find the proper place for a thing don't hesitate to put it where it belongs. Some of us gather great satisfaction from meticulously placing items were they go or from crossing things off lists. We are lucky and they say our life is full if we put things in their proper place before we die. John Hess you are gone and you will be missed. You were a great man and you leave a legacy because you took care of those things that were most precious and left with those close to you in their proper safe place. Vaya con dios go with god old friend.

alana harveth

November 21, 2020

I have so many good memories of Mr. Hess. One time I was visiting Jen and Mr. Hess asked me if I wanted an Old Fashion. I said, of course, it sounded good! It was so strong and I sipped it because I wanted to be cool like him. lol I loved when the Hess' visited IU or when I was welcomed into their home for a visit. Mr. Hess was always so cheerful and proud of his family. He was a wonderful man and I am lucky to have known him. Prayers to Jen and Mrs. Hess. I will cherish my memories forever. Alana

Karl Hadley

November 21, 2020

I'm sorry that I did not attend calling for John. The pandemic has interfered. John was one of nicest persons I've ever met. When I started practicing law many years ago, John was always interested in how things were going for me and offered empathy relative to my tales of frustration.
I'm also sorry that I could not take the opportunity to personally express my condolences - particularly, to Jen. My deepest sympathies.
Karl E. Hadley

Amanda Ruby

November 21, 2020

Jeff and I are so sorry for your loss. I have heard many stories about what a great guy he was and how fun he was to be around.

Kevin Scott

November 20, 2020

John was a great friend, noble and mason. He was a great supporter and helped with the Calvin W Prather lodge purchase in Lawrence and as Commodore of Murat Yacht club. He provided much knowledge, ideas and mentoring over the years. He was a great partier also. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Diane Hartman

November 20, 2020

I am so sorry for your familys loss. John was such a nice man and always so welcoming. He was a man proud of his family and it showed. John is in God's hands now. I pray Jen, that you and all your family find peace in that. God Bless you all. 🙏 Love, Diane

Heather Stege

November 18, 2020

John Hess or Mr. Hess was my college Dad #2. He included me as part of the Hess family and showed me his love of Indiana University. The tailgates, stories and the yacht club are some of the memories that make me smile.

So hospitable when I would visit.... and always generous with alcoholic sips.

A wonderful and honorable man.

Isabelle Dunne

November 18, 2020

Jen, Donna and family, my heart goes out to you all during this time of great sorrow. Accept my sincere condolences. John shone by his kindness and sens of humour. I will remember fondly every one of our encounter, whether at the office or at a party where he always came to talk to me and checked how I was doing. The last time i saw John was at his office just over a year ago. We were alone and he insisted that i sit down. We spent an hour talking about life, family and I remember how good it felt.
Most importantly, he loved his family so very much. This love will carry you through anything, with time.
Please know that you are in my every thought and prayer.
RIP John

FROM THE FAMILY
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